The stands were packed for this second-round playoff game between the two evenly matched rivals. No. 4 seed Beckman entered the game slightly favored over the fifth- seeded and 3-peat Trinity League champion Monarchs.
Just after the opening whistle, freshman Grace Houser scored to put Mater Dei on the board first, and give the Monarchs the lead that they maintained for a good portion of the game.
Draw control was a brutal comppetetion every time. The dusty Beckman field took a beating from many ground balls fought over on the circle. However, every time Patriot Luna Tsujimoto found the ball in her stick, it travelled safely to Beckman’s offense. In transition, Beckman was all Luna.
The first Beckman possession seemed to last well over five minutes. Patriots like Michaela Kyte and others continually drove hard to goal– only to be met by an impenetrable Mater Dei defense. Savannah Krause finally scored the first goal for Beckman.
Mater Dei succeeded at draw control as well. The Monarch offense was quick and energetic. Feeds were made often, and sometimes missed, but Mater Dei scrambled and regained many 50/50 ground balls.
For the majority of the first half, Mater Dei kept the lead. With less than five minutes left Beckman player Michaela Kyte scored to tie the game 4-4, but that would no stop the Monarch momentum. After a couple speedy, 25-second goals by Stephanie Bayer and Mackenzie Wallevard, the Monarchs were in the lead at halftime 7-5.
The second half seemed to be in Mater Dei’s favor. Mater Dei Head Coach Cressita Bowman said the Monarch offense focused on “moving off ball constantly, and moving Claire (the Beckman goalie) between the pipes.” Defensively, the Monarchs succeeded in keeping the Patriots out of the eight meter by “playing clean and helping early.”
Lauren Gonzales was a strong Monarch force whose shots met net almost every time. Mackenzie Wallevard was a quick scorer. Stephanie Bayer managed to win draws and feed easily. Grace Houser and her teammate defenders often got the ball out of Patriot hands. Nevertheless the tides turned in Beckman’s favor when the Patriots “turned on the boosties,” according to enthusiastic Patriot fans.
The score was 9-5, Mater Dei leading, when Beckman called a timeout not long after the start of the second half. From there, a wave of back-to-back goals from stellar Patriot leaders Savannah Krause and Luna Tsujimoto pushed Beckman ahead 13-10.
By now, Mater Dei had changed goalies. Breanna Barriga held her own in goal. The Monarchs played strong defense against Beckman, but it was a lot of defense.
With two minutes left, it seemed Mater Dei was still in it when they prevented Beckman from crossing the restraining line after the draw, caused a turnover, and earnedclosed the gap on a goal by Mackenzie Wallevard. But with solid defense and stone-wall goalkeeping by Patriot Claire Duchene, the 13-11 score would last till the end of the game. Beckman ended it victoriously after a well-fought battle.
Beckman plays against No. 1 Capistrano Valley in the semifinals of playoffs Saturday at 1:00pm at Laguna Hills High School.